A Hard Six Months

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Sorry for the lack of contact – It’s been a busy, tough six months for this Frame in Napier.

Busy in that there seems to have been very little gap between my “proper,” “pays the bills” job and spending time with my family – especially our daughter who’s growing exponentially in both size, smarts and energy expenditure (hers) and consumption (ours).

But it’s the extended family that’s been the toughest aspect recently.

As you remember, my dad died suddenly about a year and a half ago. That in itself has been hard for me to deal with at times, but it also meant my Mum was hit even harder by it, with the added factor that she was now alone at home.

Since retiring years ago, Dad had essentially run stuff around the house – He did most of the cooking, would go out and do the shopping and other errands while, for some reason, Mum became more insular, went out less and started to rely on Dad more.

While Dad would find any excuse to pop in and visit us and his new granddaughter in the few short months they coexisted, it felt almost like Mum was trying to find any excuse not to go out.

So when Dad died, Mum’s main outlet to the world closed off.

Naturally we tried to help as much as we could – I took control of organising Dad’s funeral, paying bills etc. and getting help for Mum, as she had lost the skills (or just the will) to cook her own dinners and other household tasks that Dad had long been in charge of.

We had initially considered putting Mum in a rest home to be looked after straight after Dad’s death (both my parents are quite elderly). But had been told / convinced by the local health provider powers-that-be that Mum was best suited to in-home care, of which they just so happened to have numerous, publicly-funded options.

The carers helped as much as they could, but Mum is fiercely protective of her home and seldom let them do everything they were supposed to, or in to the house further than the kitchen for that matter. One lot gave up and another lot were brought in, but they seemed happy doing even less.

It was hard to tell where the line between the carers not doing their job and Mum not letting them do their job was.

Mum wasn’t taking very good care of herself and, aside from breakfast, seemed to be only eating the “Meals on Wheels” she got for lunch and biscuits.

I had been steadily getting fed up with the lack of action over Mum’s state and eventually snapped and put my foot down, demanding she be re-assessed and asking why something hadn’t been done earlier.

We had been through two or three of these “assessments” of the level of required help / care for Mum and the second one had deemed her suitable for residential care, but for whatever reason, the authorities hadn’t acted upon it, despite one part of the DHB I had been in touch with telling me it was all go.

Apparently the main sticking point had been Mum not wanting to go into care. She would say yes to her GP and me, but not the care assessors (who were, naturally, quite happy to continue the income stream to their care agencies).

In the last assessment, Mum finally agreed she’d like to go into a rest home and wheels were put in motion, with my foot forcefully on the accelerator.

Within a couple weeks we had found a place in a rest home not too far from her old home and Mum settled in remarkably quickly. More importantly to us, she was now eating properly and looking after herself, with a dedicated team to do it for her if she didn’t!

That was a weight off my mind, but it was only half the story – we still had my old family home to clean up / clear out…

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